Interview with Sergey Kirienko

Head of Russia's Nuclear Energy Agency, Sergey Kirienko, spoke to RT about Russia's future plans in the IAEA, following a meeting with its Director General, Mohamed ElBaradei.

Russia Today: You’ve been meeting with Mohammed ElBaradei. How do you evaluate that meeting?
Sergey Kirienko: We’ve had a very good, constructive dialogue, which was dedicated to several core problems: firstly, the initiative of the Russian President to create a system of international centres for uranium enrichment. The position of Russia is that when a large number of countries in the world start to move down the road to developing atomic energy, the responsibility of the countries who have the experience of doing this, is not only to ensure that they themselves can use the technology, but also to create conditions for new countries to have access to it. That said, we also need to guarantee non-proliferation. And that is why Russia sees it an important direction to actively take part in all international forums dedicated to discussing and coming up with ways to deal with these issues, but probably the distinctive feature of Russia's approach is not just to take part in these discussions, but also to act.
One-and-a-half years ago, the Russian President suggested an idea – the initiative of the international centres – and now an international centre in Russia is practically finished, established by Russia and Kazakhstan, and today any country in the world that wants to develop atomic energy for peaceful purposes can join in with the work of this centre and receive guaranteed access to services of uranium enrichment.
The second part is the participation of the IAEA in the work of this centre as an observer, because the participants of the centre are countries receiving enriched uranium, it is a very important element in the work of the centre.
And thirdly, today we expressed support of the programme that the IAEA is developing linked to the creation of a bank of fuel. Any country in the world needs to understand that if anything happens in regards to fuel deliveries, they can appeal to the IAEA and the Agency can then allow them immediate access to fuel reserves. 
Russia, in support of this initiative, has suggested that it is ready to use its own money to create a bank of low-enriched uranium. It will have enough fuel to load two big reactors. We can store the reserve in the International Centre in Angarsk. This bank of low-enriched uranium will be sealed by IAEA inspectors and it will only be distributed under the direction of the IAEA.
Those are the key questions we discussed with the Director General, Mr ElBaradei and I am deeply satisfied with the direction of the talks. We have reached a tentative agreement on all these points, given out specific instructions to working groups and agreed that the basic part of this work should be completed in the course of the next six months in order to be able to make final decisions by spring of next year.
RT: Now, if I can draw your attention to workings of the IAEA. Fifty years after its initial creation, how do you regard its effectiveness considering the current political situation in the world?
S.K.: Today, the meaning and role of the IAEA is only increasing. Ten or fifteen years ago, when only a limited number of countries was developing atomic energy and the threat to non-proliferation was easy enough to control, the work of the Agency already brought serious results. But today, when the development of atomic energy is becoming practically non-alternative, the role and significance of the IAEA is getting even bigger. It is impossible to steadily develop the world's economy without the full-scale development of atomic energy. But we need to remember that only on a multiple-sided foundation, only with conditions of transparency, questions on the development of atomic energy can be solved. So Russia completely supports the work of the IAEA and has provided, provides and will provide assistance in the IAEA's agenda.
RT: We have seen Russia’s role grow over the years. How do you expect it to expand in the coming future?
S.K.: Russia is obviously one of the world leaders in atomic energy. It is the country where the world's first atomic power station was built. We actively take part in projects that are being realised within the framework of the IAEA and we do not just take part, we initiate them. Russia has initiated a project to create a new generation of secure nuclear technology and the work we have already done in creating the Angarsk centre is an example of that. So Russia is taking on the responsibility as a nuclear power to not only to develop atomic energy, but to create the conditions for its development not just inside our borders, but around the world. And probably the biggest difference in Russia's position to the rest of the countries in the IAEA, is that we do not just suggest, we do not just discuss, we take practical steps to increase security around the world and to create conditions for the construction of a global infrastructure for the development of nuclear energy, without which the steady development of the world's economy in the 21st century is not possible.